Never-before-seen archive recording of Inua Ellams’ smash-hit play Barber Shop Chronicles, a co-production with Leeds Playhouse and Fuel, will be streamed live by the National Theatre on Thursday 14 May at 7PM BST.
Captured at the National Theatre in January 2018 during its second sold-out run at the Dorfman theatre, the production went on to tour internationally including performances at BAM in New York with a return to London’s Roundhouse last Summer. The play tells the interwoven tales of black men from across the globe who, for generations, have gathered in barber shops where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling. Directed by Bijan Sheibani the cast includes Fisayo Akinade, Hammed Animashaun, Cyril Nri and Sule Rimi.
The National Theatre will stream Barber Shop Chronicles and further productions from partner theatres live on YouTube via the National Theatre’s YouTube channel as part of National Theatre at Home; the new initiative to bring content to the public in their homes during the Coronavirus outbreak.All productions will be free and screened live at 7.00PM BST and will then be available on demand for seven days.
National Theatre at Home launched in April in response to theatre and cinema closures due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Over the past month, five productions have been streamed for free via YouTube to an audience of 8 million. With the closure of theatres set to continue for some time, the future of the industry for artists and organisations remains uncertain. The National Theatre has, in agreement with Equity, committed to pay all artists and creatives involved with productions streamed as part of National Theatre at Home.
Robin Hawkes, Executive Director of Leeds Playhouse said “We’re really pleased that Barber Shop Chronicles, which we brought back to Leeds last year after it was a huge hit with audiences here at the Playhouse previously, is going to be one of the first partner theatre performances accessible to such a wide audience through NT at Home.”
Lisa Burger, Executive Director & Joint Chief Executive of National Theatre said “I’m delighted that in this next collection of titles to be streamed as part of National Theatre at Home we are including productions from our NT Live partner theatres. When we launched National Theatre at Home last month, we wanted to offer audiences the opportunity to engage with theatre during this time of isolation while we were unable to welcome them to the South Bank or into cinemas. This initiative wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a great number of artists for which we are incredibly grateful. We have been absolutely thrilled by the response from viewers enjoying the productions from right across the globe, and we have also been surprised and delighted at the generous donations we’ve received since closure. Whilst the National Theatre continues to face a precarious financial future, we now feel able to make a payment to all artists involved, as we recognise a great many are also experiencing a particularly challenging time at this moment. While theatres across the world remain closed, we're pleased that we can continue to bring the best of British theatre directly into people’s homes every Thursday evening.”
Theatres all around the world are facing a devastating impact from Coronavirus. NATIONAL THEATRE AT HOME is free of charge but should viewers wish to make a donation, money donated via YouTube will be shared with the co-producing theatre organisations of each stream, including Leeds Playhouse, to help support the Playhouse through this period of closure and uncertainty.